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[Updated Aug. 5] One of the two recent incidents involving children being approached at Rancho Murieta parks has been explained as a misunderstanding. A Murieta man wrote in a post Thursday night that he was the one who innocently asked a child's help to unlock his truck Wednesday night at Stonehouse Park.

In Wednesday's incident, the girl's father was able to reach in the truck window to unlock it. In a separate incident on Tuesday, two girls at Riverview Park were approached by a white male in his 50s who asked their names and where they lived, according to Security Chief Greg Remson. The girls did not give that information to the man, and reported the incident to their parents. No one has come forward in that incident.

Both incidents were reported to Security, which characterized them as "suspicious circumstances," and the Sheriff's Department was also notified.

On Thursday, an email outlining two incidents circulated in the community. The email was intended to alert parents. Responding to concerns the email raised, Remson provided a summary of the events and asked that anyone with information contact the Security Department at 354-3743 or the Sheriff's Department at 874-5115.

Remson reminded parents to "reinforce the way your children respond to incidents and questions like those that occurred," and provided a link to child safety information available on the Sheriff's Department website,  http://www.sacsheriff.com/crime_prevention/index.cfm#child_safety

When Murietan Paul Venturella saw the story on RanchoMurieta.com, he wrote in a comment -- see it below -- that he was "totally shocked" by the way the incident at Stonehouse Park was portrayed. "I am the man that was locked out of my truck at the park. ... I was (and still am) very thankful" for the help the girl and her father provided, he wrote.


Here is the original story, posted Thursday afternoon:

Two incidents involving a man approaching young girls at parks in the community have been reported in the past two days. The first incident occurred at Riverview Park around 7 p.m. Tuesday, when two girls were approached by a white male in his 50s who asked their names and where they lived, according to Security Chief Greg Remson. The second incident occurred at Stonehouse Park Wednesday about 8 p.m. In that incident, a white male in his 60s asked an 11-year-old girl for help unlocking his truck, Remson reported.

Anyone with  information about these incidents is asked to contact the Security Department at 354-3743 or the Sheriff's Department at 874-5115.

California Highway Patrol Sgt. Jarod Primicerio, a Rancho Murieta resident who manages the Amber Alert program for the CHP, views the incidents as a wake-up call for the community.

"I highly recommend that we be vigilant and observant throughout the community," Primicerio said in a phone call Thursday after he learned of the incidents from an email that's being circulated.  He urged residents to call 911 immediately if they observe suspicious activity involving children.

This is a report on the incidents provided by Remson:

Over the past two days the Security Department has received two calls regarding an older white male speaking with young girls.

The first occurred on Tuesday night around 7 pm at Riverview Park. The witness, a 9 yr old girl and her friend, reported that a white male in his 50's with a "buzz cut" was in a golf cart accompanied by a boy about 6 years old. The man asked their names and where they lived. The girls did not give that information to the man, and reported the incident to their parents.

The second report occurred  on Wednesday at about 8 pm at Stonehouse Park. The witness, an 11 yr old girl, was sitting in her father's car and was approached by a white male in his 60's, 6'tall, heavy set with grey curly hair and glasses. The man had a small grey and white dog with him. The man said he locked his keys in his truck and needed someone with a small arm  to reach in a partially closed window to unlock the door. The girl then ran over to where her father was to tell him what happened. The father came over helped the man unlock the door. The father later thought that the window was down far enough for the man to reach in, and that the door was already unlocked. The truck was described as a small white 4 door truck.

The Sheriff's Department has been notified of these events. If you have any additional information regarding these incidents contact the Security Department at 354-3743 or the Sheriff's Department at 874-5115.

As a reminder, parents should reinforce the way your children respond to incidents and questions like those that occurred. Please refer to the Sheriff's Department website regarding these issues at http://www.sacsheriff.com/crime_prevention/index.cfm#child_safety


Jacque Villa's picture
Joined: 07/11/2009
Posts: 537
Post rating: 695

Man Approaches Children in RM

Also, please try to get a license number of a vehicle if this occurs in your presence. It would help a lot......School will be starting soon and children will be getting off the bus...we need to keep our eyes open!!!!

 

 

Paul Venturella's picture
Joined: 12/31/2009
Posts: 251
Post rating: 182

I was locked out...

 I am the man that was locked out of my truck at the park. Went there for my nightly dog walk (I'm guessing it was closer to 6PM than 8PM as I tend to go up right after work) and was trying to get the dog leashed, trying to turn on my bluetooth earpiece for my phone, was on a phone call....and locked my keys in my truck.

I could not get my fat old arm in the window crack and asked the kid for help. She was sitting in a car a few slots away.

She said she needed to ask her dad...which I said was a good idea. He came over and opened the door for me.

I was (and still am) very thankful.

I am totally shocked to see the incident listed here under "crime"....or that there was anything more than what it was. 

Beth Buderus's picture
Joined: 08/03/2007
Posts: 908
Post rating: 700

Thanks Paul

Thanks Paul, for coming forward and explaining the situation.  I'm sure this has put a lot of parents minds at ease. 

But this is still a very good reminder for parents and their children.  This could have turned out to be something very different.  Remember, people inside the gates are not always residents, there are guests and outside workers here every day.

Jacque Villa's picture
Joined: 07/11/2009
Posts: 537
Post rating: 695

Paul

Thanks Paul for coming forward with the explanation of that event......that solves that problem...however, we still need to be vigilant since we have vendors and visitors in the community every day.

Thanks again.

Debra Lind's picture
Joined: 07/25/2008
Posts: 215
Post rating: 324

Thanks Paul

I've had those moments where everything happens at once adding up to a situation like yours. I would have been mortified to read my situation as a suspicious event too. When I read that the dad came and helped to open the truck, a crime just did not ring true.

With our society as it is, if I were a man (or even as a woman for that matter), being accused of something involving a child is way too easy! You see a kid by themselves, we tend to want to be sure they are ok, but then self preservation takes over and you feel like you'd best not approach. Thank you for clearing this up.

Reality: Last year when there were problems with kids that got off the bus, I recommended then that perhaps parents could begin a volunteer program in meeting the bus and monitoring some of these kids getting home so that they are not picked on by bullies. This would hold true in protecting them from stranger danger too. How about it parents? 

Andy Keyes's picture
Joined: 08/22/2007
Posts: 289
Post rating: 120

My God At least print a correction

You can do better than this.  Do not become what that other website has.

Stephen Blinkenberg's picture
Joined: 09/30/2007
Posts: 80
Post rating: 125

Good News

 Good news for Rancho Murieta.

Cheap shot by Director Keyes, especially coming from someone who regular posts on "that other website" under the screen name "The Director", even though other Directors regularly post as well.

NOTE: I have no financial stake in "that other website".  Heck, I don't even live in Rancho Murieta.

Shelley Wright's picture
Joined: 10/14/2007
Posts: 110
Post rating: 78

Man Approaches Children

 I'm confused as to how this got reported if the Dad became involved.  Maybe this wasn't the same incident previously reported?

 

Nellie Bloom's picture
Joined: 08/03/2007
Posts: 361
Post rating: 586

Thanks Paul

That kind of thing could've happened to any of us. Thanks for straightening it out. Honestly, if a woman had done the same thing I think it would never have been an issue. 

Shelly, I think it's two, different instances.

Thank you Mr Blinkenberg for being the best neighbor a community could have. Thank you too for supporting our local businesses. 

Director Keyes - It would be nice to see a Director on the RMA Board be as supportive of community member owned businesses. Especially those that provide free services for all of us. 

Re: Stranger Danger - Friends in Anatolia report an extremely aggressive and creepy man cruising their local park. It's nice to see everyone pull together and look out for their friends and neighbors. 

Debra Lind's picture
Joined: 07/25/2008
Posts: 215
Post rating: 324

Andy

Andy,

 

....and that would be....?

John Hein's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 350
Post rating: 416

If you don't live here

Steven, I am confused. If you don't live in Murieta how are you even able to comment on this site? RM.com is supposed to be for residents only. I would have to question why it is any if your business to post your opinion  here.

John Hein

Matt McGuire's picture
Joined: 07/29/2007
Posts: 63
Post rating: 198

Wow John, that is mighty

Wow John, that is mighty neighborly of you.  Steve is a great neighbor to Rancho Murieta.  You might not know this but there are some wonderful people that live in the Rancho Murieta area that don’t live behind our gates. 

Stephen Blinkenberg's picture
Joined: 09/30/2007
Posts: 80
Post rating: 125

If you don't live here

 Well, John, my Post Office is the same as yours, but my address is Sloughhouse.  My Grocery Store, Gas Station, Hardware Store, Mexican Restaurant, Dry Cleaners, Insurance Agency, responding Fire Department, Chinese Restaurant, at times Health Club and all the obvious are the same as yours.  My Weekly Newspaper is the same as yours and a few years back I was welcomed onto RanchoMurieta.com, same as you.

If RM.com is, like you say, "for residents only", I guess I don't live up to that standard.  But, then again, neither do most of the Sponsers of this site.

RM.com's picture
Joined: 06/19/2007
Posts: 27726
Post rating: 1387

Good neighbor policy

John's right -- site membership is limited to Murietans. 

Years ago, after dealing with Mr. Blinkenberg on lost animals, wild fires and traffic accidents along our shared property line, we decided he was as good a neighbor as we have in Rancho Murieta, so he should be a full-fledged member of the site.  Running RM.com doesn't come with many privileges, but that seemed like one.

Was it the wrong call?

Jacque Villa's picture
Joined: 07/11/2009
Posts: 537
Post rating: 695

Our Neighbor Steve

John, you are sooooooo wrong.  Just because Steve doesn't live behind the gates does not mean he cannot post on this site or any other site if he wishes to. He is a better neighbor than some of the folks that live inside here. He supports all the business' in RM and keeps an eye out on the backside of this community.......PLUS, he's a great guy!!!! 

Read your good book, if you have one....it says "love thy neighbor"!!!!!!   :)

Jacque Villa's picture
Joined: 07/11/2009
Posts: 537
Post rating: 695

Good Neighbor Policy

I don't think it was a wrong call.....my vote says...keep him!!!!!!!

Matt McGuire's picture
Joined: 07/29/2007
Posts: 63
Post rating: 198

Karen, no it was not the

Karen, no it was not the wrong call IMO.  We are not an island and neighbors that border our little community are equally as important as those that live within the compound.  

Dick Cox's picture
Joined: 10/02/2007
Posts: 156
Post rating: 563

GOOD NEIGHBOR

Right decision Karen.  Stephen is one of the best neighbors any one could ask for.  He has our back all the time.  Latrobe Road would  look like the city dump if it wasn't for him. 

Dick Cox

John Hein's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 350
Post rating: 416

I only questioned because

I only questioned because Steven made a point of saying he didn't live here. I typically consider the close neighbors to be community members and to me he made it sound like he was not even from around here. My mistake, now I know.

John Hein

Nellie Bloom's picture
Joined: 08/03/2007
Posts: 361
Post rating: 586

Thank Goodness

you are our neighbor.  Off the top of my head I can recall you helping immensely with:

- Lost and abandoned animals - including a horse who is alive because of your efforts.

- Bonfires and arson attempts on Latrobe

- Dangerous shooting out back

- Regular dumpings

- Wandering cattle (not yours)

- Scott Rd Flooding and Closures

- Midnight racing and crashes

Plus, as you said, you are a much appreciated and needed patron of all our local businesses. So, I'm very glad you can contribute on RM.com.

 

Nellie Bloom's picture
Joined: 08/03/2007
Posts: 361
Post rating: 586

 Unfortunately, it

 Unfortunately, it effectively derailed a thread about an important safety issue. 

Janet Nicholson's picture
Joined: 10/28/2007
Posts: 236
Post rating: 380

You are a Murietan, Stephen!

You don't have to live within these gates to be a Murietan.  Stephen, you are so much more a part of this community than many who live inside the gates.  Anyone who pays any attention to either web site would know that.  Thank you for everything you do, keep it up and count on our assistance and support whenever you need it.  You're not only a great guy, but have a wonderfully wicked sense of humor.  Your posts - other than the serious ones about dumping and the like - have me ROTFL all the time.  ;o)

Lisa Hawk's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 5
Post rating: 0

He most certainly IS a Murietan!!

Well, he is as much as any of us are... He's a wonderful neighbor and friend to this community. If he's not a Murietan, none of us are! If he gets thrown out of this site, we might as well ALL get thrown out. So, yeah, I think he's as much a Murietan as anyone else here.

John Hein's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 350
Post rating: 416

Somehow I must have

Somehow I must have missed that anyone was suggesting Mr.Blinkenberg get "thrown" off the site. By the way he was the one who said, "Heck, I don't even live in Murieta". That was what made me question to begin with. I could not understand why he chose to end his comment with that statement. Sorry for my question.

John Hein

Sonya Breckenridge's picture
Joined: 08/29/2007
Posts: 21
Post rating: 21

From a parent's perspective

Paul, I appreciate that you wrote in to clarify the situation.  I, like many other parents, was very concerned when I heard what had happened.  It is unfortunate that parents must warn their children to be wary of strangers but the reality is children have been lured into cars with requests for directions, promises of candy, to look for a lost puppy etc., so I am sure you can understand that when a stranger approaches a child and requests them to put their arm into a car to unlock the door it causes great concern for parents as well as can be a frightening situation for the child.  Children are taught that strangers should not ask children for help with such things but should seek out an adult instead.  They have also been taught to never approach a stranger's car.  Again, it is unfortunate that we need to do that but that is the reality of the world we live in.  I think it was most appropriate for this situation to be reported to security and am glad it wasn't what it appeared to be.

Matt McGuire's picture
Joined: 07/29/2007
Posts: 63
Post rating: 198

John, Steve is a beloved

John, Steve is a beloved neighbor as you can tell by the responses.  I can’t speak for others, but for me your statement “I would have to question why it is any if your business to post your opinion here.” is what prompted me to respond.  If Karen allows someone on the site then it’s not our place to decided who’s “business” it is to post.  Your comment came off as very elitist and that somehow one side of a fence is better than the other side.  You may not have intended it to read that way, but that was my initial reaction.

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